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Poster: cartoonsonfilm Date: Nov 28, 2009 11:35am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: What is a 'restoration' and is it grounds for ownership of PD materials?

I think you're treading into an area of human courtesy with the book of law in hand. Now that you have made it known that you have some commercial interest in these films, I can only wonder and will publicly ask- what is your intent? Others have reused the films that I make available, and usually with my assistance... because I am involved in this field on a daily basis and stay in touch with most individuals who buy my material (a level of intimacy most corporate DVD outfits cannot pursue).

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Poster: yofitofu Date: Nov 28, 2009 12:15pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: What is a 'restoration' and is it grounds for ownership of PD materials?

Actually, I'm not being discourteous. On the contrary, I am trying to be decent by coming to you with a checkbook, not a lawbook in hand. My problem was with the legal notice you posted on your site, which seemed to claim that you had done "restorations" on these materials which gave you some claim of copyright in them. I'm just asking you to explain what you mean by that since the only legit claims for this that I know of are "colorization", "pan and scan" and copyrightable music. I didn't want you to feel bad if they were ordered from you and used and shared and resold widely, like the Prelinger materials are.

I don't feel compelled to put my business plan in writing in a public forum, but suffice it to say that it doesn't involve selling DVD compilations which would directly compete with your enterprise with these PD materials, although I presume others could do this should they desire, which is a risk you take when you make them available to the public.

I can understand that as an archivist and lover of these films, you feel a deep attachment to them and a sense of ownership of them. You have worked hard to bring them to the public and it seems unfair that anyone could just take them and also use them with a $20 fee to you. It is inherent in the phrase - "because I am involved in this field on a daily basis and stay in touch with most individuals who buy my material" - but I think it is important to understand that, respectfully, Public Domain materials are not your materials. They belong to the public and you cannot control other individual's ability to copy them (the copyright). You can copy them freely and resell them and so can anyone else who buys them from you. Your profit is in the initial sale of them, not in the ongoing control and administration of what happens to them after they leave your hands. This may seem harsh or legalistic, but it is a fundamental aspect of the public domain as I understand it.

So can you say what kind of restoration work you have done on these cartoons which makes them your exclusive property to enforce copyright on?That's my fundamental question which started this thread.

Thanks. yofitofu

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Poster: cartoonsonfilm Date: Nov 28, 2009 12:54pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: What is a 'restoration' and is it grounds for ownership of PD materials?

I do understand that you are trying to be courteous, but then again, you did not contact me directly. Instead you have started a public discussion, which is fine, and it may have gone on without my noticing it- at a loss to me.

My questioning your business plans were akin to your asking for me to publicly state some of the technical sides of this endeavor. In both areas, some of these things are not topics the public are privy to and this is to protect those individuals working with the material, just as it would be a protective measure for a business person not to post his or her business plan on the internet.

While it is true that I do not "own" said material in a copyright sense and that buyers can copy the material is a moot point. Some have done this, tried replicating my operation and did not catch on for a simple reason. They are not the same multi-faceted individual making connections with other collectors, archives, researching, or doing many of the other things necessary to really be recognized in the preservation field. They indeed wrote a check and tried recouping their loss and I'm sure in time they realized that they could not start being a person like myself just by doing this. I am not going anywhere and will continue to be an active figure in this niche so long as I am breathing. The same cannot be said for those copycats I've encountered.

Like you said, I cannot control the films once they are purchased by someone. But to have them become profitable outside of my hands, if at all possible, would put a direct financial damper on my ability to locate more of these films. That is the most important task, here, and anyone who wants to attempt the same would be directly competing with me. You are also not buying the original prints in this case. Why try to reinvent the wheel?

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